Clearly Important Guy and a Brief Foray Into Fair Use

Workday is over. I am headed home for a quiet afternoon and evening, to study and absorb knowledge wonderful knowledge. I snag a good seat on the Metro. I settle in with my book as downtown glides by soundlessly on the other side of the windows.
“…doings discomposed Mr. Bennett exceedingly. In his library he had been always sure of leisure and tranquillity; and though prepared AND OF COURSE IT’S GOT ALL THAT SQUARE FOOTAGE WITH THE BASEMENT THAT WE REMODELED INTO A BILLIARDS ROOM AND STUDIO –“
This is not the ordinary cell phone yapper. This is a cell phone bellower. I sigh and turn back to my book, determined to ignore him.

Where was I? “…and though prepared, as he told Elizabeth, to meet with folly and conceit in every other room of the house, he was used to be free from them there; his civility, therefore, was AND IT’S BEEN ONLY THIS PAST YEAR THAT WE FINISHED GLASSING IN THE CAUSEWAY BETWEEN THE TWO HALVES there, was most prompt in inviting –“

Other people are leaning forward and twisting around to give him pointed looks. It’s not just me. This guy is LOUD.
Wait. Seriously? This guy must be Very Important indeed if he has a house with a causeway between the two halves of it. I think he must mean a breezeway, but — no.  He says it again. He said causeway. He talks like he’s Thurston Howell the Third. He is wearing a topcoat and a fedora, which is all right, but then I see the leather driving gloves. Dude. It’s 65 degrees, not 25. Not 85. You’re not cruising along Route 66 in your Alfa Romeo with the mahogany steering wheel and the tail of your aviator scarf snapping rakishly behind you. You’re in the northbound commuter lane on I-5 out of Seattle, on the bus with the rest of the peasants.
“…In pompous nothings on his side, and civil assents on that of his AND ALL THE WINDOWS HAVE CORNICHES –“
Dude, you mean cornices. Unless you’re pretending to drive a Corniche instead of the Alfa Romeo I arbitrarily assigned you. Or unless your house is on a cliff and has a corniche road along with the causeway, in which case I’m guessing you have some serious foundational problems.
“He was at the same time haughty, reserved, and fastidious, and his manners, though well-bred…”
No. Crap. Lost my place.
“For, though elated by his rank, it did not render him supercilious; on the contrary, he was all attention to AND A BEAUTIFUL VIEW OVER THE WATER everybody. By nature inoffensive, friendly, and obliging, his presentation at AND I KNOW WE WANT TO MOVE FAST BUT I REALLY DO THINK WE’RE IN THE THREE-QUARTER MILLION RANGE –“
I drop my book in annoyance and stare at Clearly Important Guy again. Hard. Right now I want my superpower to be the ability to drill twin holes into the side of his head.
I dig in my bag for my earbuds, resigned to listening to music whether I want to or not, just to drown out this pompous jerk. No earbuds. Dammit, I loaned them to Dream Girl. Try the book again.
“…veneration for her as his patroness, mingling with a very good opinion of himself, of his authority as..”.
That’s not where I was either.
“…of his authority as a clergyman, and his right as a rector made him AND MARKET CONSIDERATIONS ASIDE I’VE DONE WELL um, made him altogether a mixture of pride and obsequiousness, self-importance ALTHOUGH UNFORTUNATELY WE DO HAVE TO PAINT —

Or there.

No, dude. A house belonging to a Clearly Important person such as yourself, and that has its own causeway, cannot be painted yellow. Yellow is for cheery, comfy, cozy houses. A house belonging to you can only be Glowering Thunderhead Gray or Imperator Brown or Darth Vader Black. You can’t even have yellow trim. A few yellow flowers might be okay as long as placement and landscape design are approved by Architectural Digest.
For real? Who says “swimmingly?” Even his haircut is fussy. His e-reader is in one of those fold-up-and-prop-on-an-easel type of display thingies on his lap, because heaven forbid he actually hold his own e-reader like everyone else. Anyone as Clearly Important as he is absolutely would have a house big enough for a causeway to drive his Corniche on.
Digression. You may recognize chopped-up fragments of Pride and Prejudice. The book I was actually trying to read is Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, but I respect artists (and I don’t want to get sued) and quoting what I was actually reading would not fall under the Fair Use doctrine. Pride and Prejudice is in the public domain and therefore fair game. Cryptonomicon is a very good book. It’s an excellent book when there’s no phone yapper messing up the flow.
Since it would also violate copyright to post a picture of the cover of Cryptonomicon, and I like blog posts with pictures, I give you this picture of some Metro buses near downtown, my own work. I mean the picture is my own work, not the buses.

I know. The buses and the weather and the neighborhood are all a bit lackluster, although behind me in the International District there can be found good dim sum. But it’s more thematically relevant than a picture of a flower or my dog. I should have taken a picture of Clearly Important Guy. Maybe it would have scared him into thinking he was now being sought by an entire posse on Class N Felony charges.
Oh, okay. I see. You’re reinflating your ego after getting your ass kicked in divorce court. She probably got the Corniche too, which explains why you’re slumming it on the bus.
Driving gloves. Poser.
I feel my phone vibrate in my bag. Normally I don’t answer my phone on the bus, because duh, it’s rude, but it’s Dream Girl and I have a mission.
“Hi,” I say, very loudly. “I really can’t talk now because I’m IN PUBLIC” — pointedly give Clearly Important Guy a meaningful look, which he just as pointedly ignores – “but I do need to remind you to return my earbuds to me, because there’s this guy talking REALLY LOUD ON THE PHONE and I can’t even stick foreign objects into my own ears to block him out.” Clearly Important Guy’s shoulder goes up defensively. I can feel the woman next next to me laughing but I don’t trust myself to look at her because I will splutter guffaws all over the seat back in front of me and this nonsense has really gone far enough. I should be classier than he is.
Besides, we’re at my stop. I get up to deboard and Clearly Important Guy shoots me a dirty look. I mean, if looks could kill. I give him my brightest smile.
And this is why I’m going to hell.

Above: Cell Phone Crashing, Greg Benson/Mediocre Films

Author: Deborah Lee

I like trees, dreaming, magic, books, paper, floating, dreaming, rhinos, rocks, stargazing, wine, dragonflies, trains, and silence to hear the world breathe.

3 thoughts on “Clearly Important Guy and a Brief Foray Into Fair Use”

  1. Excellent post, Deb! You had me riding that bus right along side you! I could see and hear Clearly Important Guy on the phone … I could feel your frustration as you tried to read your book … and you made me want to bore holes in side of Mr. Loudmouth's head as well. Big time!!!! 😀


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